The Federal Government has approved $5.3 billion (N1.62 trillion) for the construction of the Ibadan to Kano standard gauge rail line project.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this on Thursday at the third Maritime Stakeholders Interactive Forum.
The details: According to Amaechi, the approval for the $5.3 billion project was given on Wednesday, while the Ministry had also applied for funding to commence coastal rail for the Port Harcourt to Warri rail segment.
He said: “Just yesterday, we got approval to complete the $5.3 billion Ibadan to Kano rail project. We have also applied for funding to commence coastal rail for the Port Harcourt to Warri segment. In my first term as minister, I completely abandoned the maritime sector to the heads of agencies. This time, that won’t be happening again.”
Also, Amaechi disclosed that the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, would be in charge of all maritime agencies, while he would focus on the railway sector. According to the minister, discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari on maritime safety had been completed with the assurance that Nigeria would have a single window in the maritime sector.
“I have instructed that the Minister of State for Transportation should personally supervise the maritime agencies, while I just oversee what is happening. There are two things I discussed with Mr President that I will be focusing on in this second term as minister, and they are maritime security and the single window project.
“I have assured the government that by the end of 2020, we should have a single-window in the maritime sector. On maritime security, I have told the Israeli firm HSLI that they are too slow. By now, they should have launched. I want to know the situation of things with the aspect of security on our maritime space.”
Loans from China: Earlier in September 2018, Amaechi disclosed that the Federal Government was committed to the project as it was negotiating about $6 billion facility from the Chinese EXIM Bank to do the project.
“We are currently in negotiations with the China Exim Bank to get about $6 billion to do (rail lines) from Ibadan to Kano. It is a difficult decision. Why is it difficult? The money required is about $8 billion to do a double track but the Chinese are insisting that they can’t fund the double track.
“They (Chinese) are asking us to do a single track and they want it at Minna so that instead of going from Minna to Kaduna, we should go from Minna to Abuja and then join it from Abuja to Kaduna. But there are those who argue that we should not accept that, rather we should tell them (Chinese) to fund it in segments. This, however, does not make economic sense,” he explained.
In May 2019, the Federal Government approved $2.3 billion for the construction of a rail line that would run across Nigeria’s coastal states. Nairametrics learned that Chinese banks would provide $1.8 billion (78.26%) of the fund in the form of a loan facility. The Federal Government, on its part, will contribute the balance of $500 million (21.74%) as counterpart fund.
The latest approval means the Federal Government has approved a total of $7.6 so far on rail line projects in the past year.
On the rail project: Basically, the rail line, which is a part of the Lagos to Kano double rail project will pass through several states including Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Kwara and Niger states before it gets to Kaduna and then Kano.
According to Amaechi as earlier disclosed, the rail will cost about $8 billion and must link Lagos ports down to Kano to maximize the economic benefits on that rail corridor as the value is in the freight, not passengers.
FG hands over National Theatre to CBN, Bankers Committee, to create 1 million jobs
The Federal Government has announced the official hand over of the National Arts Theatre Complex at Iganmu Lagos, to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Banks under the aegis of the Bankers’ Committee, in order to commence the renovation of the facility.
This was contained in a tweet post by the Presidential Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, on his official Twitter handle on Sunday, July 12, 2020.
UPDATE: The event has taken place.
“@NigeriaGov on Sunday officially handed over the National Theatre complex in Lagos to @cenbank and Banks under the aegis of the Bankers’ Committee, to commence the RENOVATION of the facility.” https://t.co/h2aWfuHyF8
— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) July 12, 2020
During the event which was attended by the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the bankers were targeting 1 million jobs from this project in the next 5 years.
FG disburses N349.5m in Conditional Cash transfer to poor households in Kaduna
The disbursement was done under the federal government’s Conditional Cash Transfer.
The Federal Government has successfully disbursed a total of N349.5 million to 34,946 poor and vulnerable households in Kaduna State, under the conditional cash transfer programme.
According to the Head of Cash Transfer Unit in the State, Hajiya Hauwa Abdulrazaq, the disbursement lasted a period of 10 days, from July 1 to July 10.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, Abdulrazaq explained that the benefiting households were drawn from 9 local government areas in the state – 4,470 from Kajuru; 8,032 in Birnin Gwari; 1,963 in Kauru; 1,406 in Sanga, 4,380 in Lere, 2,021 in Kachia; 5,478 in Ikara; 2,784 in Chikun, and 4,412 in Kubau LGAs.
She noted that the disbursement was done under the federal government’s Conditional Cash Transfer, a Households Uplifting Programme targeting poorest of the poor households in the country, and that each of the households received N10,000 each, being payment for the months of May and June at N5,000 per month.
“The households uplifting programme is one of the national social investment programmes which implementation began in September 2016,” she said.
NAN reports that the programme began in 2017 in Kaduna state with about 10,000 beneficiaries, but expanded to 22,380 in April 2020.
In May, a total of 12,566 new beneficiaries were added summing the figures to 34,956 beneficiaries in the state.
The state government had also commenced the process of capturing poor and vulnerable households into the social register in the remaining 14 LGAs, from which beneficiaries of the cash transfer would be extracted in subsequent months.
Evacuation: 247 Nigerians arrive home from Malaysia, Thailand
The returnees were evacuated with a chartered Air Peace flight APK-7813.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has safely evacuated and returned home, two hundred and forty-seven Nigerians who were stranded in Malaysia and Thailand.
The returnees were evacuated with a chartered Air Peace flight APK-7813 which arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 11p.m. on Saturday.
Chartered @airpeace flight APK-7813 conveying 247 stranded Nigerians from Malaysia and Thailand arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at exactly 2300HRS, 11th of July 2020.
Some passengers disembarked in Abuja..
— Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (@nidcom_gov) July 12, 2020
According to Mr Gabriel Odu, the Head of Media and Public Relations Unit of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) who spoke to NAN, some of the returnees disembarked in Abuja, while the others proceeded to Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
In line with the protocols announced by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, all of the returnees presented a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding the evacuation flight, and upon arriving Nigeria, are expected to proceed on a 14-day self-isolation.
Since four weeks ago, from the federal government, through the ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the resumption of evacuation flights, hundreds of stranded Nigerians have been returned home to their families from different countries including the United States of America, United Kingdom, Egypt, Malaysia and Thailand.
The returnees bear the cost of their flight tickets and are expected to self-isolate for four weeks, upon their return to Nigeria. Returnees who receive a clean bill of health after the isolation, are given their passports and allowed to go home.